SUNBURY — The 13th annual Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride will take place Aug. 6, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.
The ride starts at Farrow North Harley-Davidson, 7754 E. state Route 37, Sunbury, and ends at Chapel Hill Golf Course, 7516 Johnstown Road, Mount Vernon. Registration begins at 10 a.m., and kickstands go up at noon.
The ride is designed and led by the Fire & Iron Motorcycle Club.
“Proceeds benefit the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial, a non-profit 501(c)3 and Ohio’s only recognized memorial honoring all Ohio military personnel killed in the War on Terrorism,” OHFM posted on Facebook.
For more information on OHFM, visit ohiofallenheroes.org.
Motorcycles and the military have long had a historic connection. An article on the website thrillist.com said Harley-Davidson, Indian, Norton and Triumph models were used by the Allies during World War I.
Twenty-five years later, Harley-Davidson again “answered the call,” Maxwell Barna wrote in an article titled “A Brief History of Motorcycles in the Military.”
“This time, they modified their popular civilian model, the WL, into the WLA. The monstrous 550-pound machines were powered by Harley’s now-famous (and practically bulletproof) 45-inch flat-head motor. They were quick, easy to work on in the field, and could take a hell of a beating on the road.”
By the end of World War II, the Bavarian Motor Works’ R71 and R75 models were considered the top cycles on the battlefield due to their performance and reliability.
“So inspired were the Allies (and everyone else, really) by the BMW design that many captured enemy R71s, shipped them home, disassembled them, and figured out how to rip them off,” Barna wrote. “The results included America’s Harley-Davidson XA …”
Several historical sources have noted that for some American veterans returning home from World War II, riding motorcycles on the open road, especially with their fellow vets in motorcycle clubs, helped them transition into civilian life. Another veteran, Robert Pirsig, wrote the popular book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in 1974.
Post-WWII, American, British and NATO forces have used Harleys, Kawasakis, and electric-powered Zero XXMs for their missions, the thrillist article concluded.
Even for veterans of more recent military actions, studies have shown that motorcycle riding can prove to be therapeutic for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.